Capt. Robert S. Sorensen
Robert S. Sorensen was the son of John & Nora Sorensen. He
was born on April 5, 1903, and grew up at 215 West Second Street in Port
Clinton, Ohio, with his two sisters and brother.
Robert attended Port Clinton Schools and was a 1920 graduate of Port Clinton High School. While he was still in high school, Robert joined the newly organized tank company of the Ohio National Guard in 1920. After graduation from high school, he worked in his father's grocery store and enrolled at Ohio State University. He also married Marjorie Beerman.
In 1940, the tank company was called to federal service. It was now known as C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. At this time, Robert held the rank of first lieutenant. With the other members of C Company, Robert trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky and then took part in maneuvers in Louisiana. It was at the end of these maneuvers that the battalion learned they were being sent overseas.
When the commanding officer of C Company failed to pass his physical. Robert assumed command of the company. With the command, he was also promoted to captain.
Sailing from Angel Island, the 192nd Tank Battalion arrived in the Philippine Islands on Thanksgiving Day, 1941. During this time, Robert had his company prepare their tanks and ammunition for use on maneuvers.
On December 8, 1941, just ten hours after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Robert and his men lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field. Robert then commanded his men in repeated engagements against the Japanese.
Sometime during the fight for the Philippines, Robert was hospitalized because he had received a shrapnel wound to his abdomen. When he was released, he was reassigned to Headquarters Company. He would later assume command of B Company. According to members of the company, he was an excellent commander. He was in command of the company when the order to surrender came on April 9, 1942.
Robert took part in the death march and was first held at Camp O'Donnell. While he was there, he suffered another illness which he survived. He was next imprisoned at Cabanatuan.
In the Fall of 1942, Robert was sent to Bilibid Prison. He was then sent to the Port Area of Manila for shipment to Japan. On November 7, 1942, he was boarded onto the Nagoto Maru for a seventeen day trip to Japan. After a stop at Formosa, the ship arrived at Moji, Japan, where the POWs were split into three groups.
In Japan, Robert was held at Umeda Camp, outside Osaka. The POWs in the camp worked as stevedores on the docks of Osaka. While he was there, he once again became ill and was sent Itchioka Hospital Camp. The hospital was the original POW camp which opened in June of 1942. It was there that Capt. Robert S. Sorensen died on June 22, 1943 of dysentery. He was 40 years old.
After his death, the body of Capt. Robert Sorensen was cremated, and his ashes were placed in a box. After the war, his family requested that his remains be returned to Port Clinton. Sometime later, his family appears to have changed their minds. Capt. Robert S. Sorensen was finally buried at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.
The Sorensen Family also had Robert's name put on the headstone of his parents in Riverview Cemetery in Port Clinton after the war.